Agents and tour operators are losing the trust of customers seeking holiday advice as they turn to online review sites, according to a survey by market researcher YouGov.
An online survey of more than 2,000 people in association with consultancy Logan Tod suggests only 22% of consumers look to the trade for advice, with 70% preferring to put their faith in family and friends and 47% turning to online reviews.
Logan Tod chief executive Matthew Tod said agents and operators need to develop their online presence to regain the respect of customers.
He said: “By placing greater trust in friends, family and online reviews, people are removing control from operators.
“Agents and operators need to invest in websites that make planning and booking as quick and simple as possible, and use customer-generated content to build trust.”
The survey also found 40% of respondents hadn’t visited an agency in the last two years. However, tour operators’ brochures remain in demand, with 46% stating they would visit an agency to pick them up even if they were booking online.
The main reason respondents gave for booking online was that it is easier and quicker. More than 76% of respondents said they use the Internet to research destinations and 66% to book flights and accommodation.
Tod said: “Our research found people also use the Internet because of the ability to find better prices online, and because an online travel agency is open 24 hours a day.”
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